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Saturday, May 26, 2007

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Pentecost Novena - Day 9
St. Philip Neri

Acts 28:16-20, 30-31
Psalm 11
John 21:20-25

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"But Lord, what about him?" —John 21:21

As we conclude the Holy Spirit novena, we are tempted by Satan to be distracted from paying attention to Jesus. For example, Jesus gave the apostles the Holy Spirit on the first Easter Sunday evening, but they did not receive the Spirit because they were preoccupied with fear of the Jewish leaders (Jn 20:19). Then, when Thomas wouldn't believe them about Jesus' resurrection, that may have given them something to talk about, at least for a week. Then Peter and the boys decided to go back into the commercial fishing business (Jn 21:3). There's nothing like work that's not God's will to take our minds off the Lord.

Finally, Jesus seemed to get through to Peter by asking three times: "Do you love Me?" (Jn 21:15-17) Still, Peter was looking back over his shoulder and asking "What about John?" Jesus replied sternly: "Suppose I want him to stay until I come...how does that concern you? Your business is to follow Me" (Jn 21:22). Even then, the disciples made Jesus' comments into a rumor that John wasn't going to die (Jn 21:23). We need the Holy Spirit to empower us to fix our eyes on Jesus (Heb 3:1) and not on Satan's distractions.

Prayer:  Holy Spirit, by Your grace may I not waste my life on foolish distractions.

Promise:  "With full assurance, and without any hindrance whatever, he preached the reign of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ." —Acts 28:31

Praise:  St. Philip Neri is said to have been "perfectly obedient" since he was six years old.

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our tape Spiritual Warfare on audio AV 57-3 or video V-57.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 16, 2006

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